When you are at a barbecue, are you the one that all of the mosquitos are attracted to? It could be your blood type.
A University of Oxford study has found mosquitoes land on people with type O blood twice as much as type A blood.
They are also drawn to the scent of the carbon dioxide we exhale, fragrances and sweat.
Enjoy that bottle of beer, but alcohol consumption increases your body temperature, which is another factor which attracts mozzies.
Female mosquitoes can lay several hundred eggs in one go, so controlling mosquitoes early is essential to prevent a population explosion.
Here are some strategies you can put into practice to get those mozzie numbers down and enjoy your backyard this summer.
1. Tidy up the yard
Mosquitos lay their eggs in stagnant water, so empty any extra water around your property such as full saucers under flowerpots, stagnant ponds, or puddles.
Clear any blocked drains and downpipes and keep pet bowls and birdbath water fresh.
If you have a pond, mosquitos may lay their larvae there, but ponds attract dragonflies, which love to eat mosquitos. To keep pond water from being stagnant, you can install a pump or fountain to keep the water moving. You can also stock your pond with goldfish or koi which will eat the larvae.
As for the garden, lush backyards may look beautiful, but they retain moisture, which also attracts mosquitos, so look for ways to prune the shrubbery to allow more air to flow through.
2. Blow them away
Mosquitos are weak flyers and cannot withstand strong breezes, so an outdoor fan can be an effective deterrent.
They are also deterred by smoke, giving you another reason to relax around the fire pit. Just be aware that it’s bushfire season, so don’t light fires in dry or windy conditions, always keep a fire extinguisher or hose nearby when using a fire pit, and pay attention to local or statewide fire bans.
3. Repel mosquitoes naturally
There are many scented plants said to deter these pesky insects. Plant them around your outdoor seating areas and reap their benefits.
Basil, lemon balm, peppermint, lavender, marigold, rosemary and eucalyptus are some of the best choices to discourage mozzies.
You can also scrunch up the leaves and rub their oils on your skin. If you are barbecuing, put a few sprigs of rosemary on the grill, and the scent will chase mosquitos away.
4. Spray outdoor areas
You might consider harsh chemical sprays, but there are many sprays available that are natural yet effective. Look for sprays with eucalyptus or citronella added, or permethrin, a chemical similar to compounds found in chrysanthemum flowers.
You can also make up your own organic spray using water, oil, washing up detergent and either diced garlic, chopped rosemary or basil leaves and spray the shrubs around the perimeter of your outdoor entertaining area.
5. Use mosquito traps
Mosquito traps run on batteries and propane and lure the little biters into the system and trap them. These devices operate day and night, but it may take up to 10 days before you notice a reduction in the number of mosquitoes.
Another way to trap them is to leave spider webs around your property for them to get caught in. It may not be the most attractive solution, but it is as natural as it comes!
6. Burn citronella oil
Lovely citronella candles offer a divine scent, are a proven mosquito deterrent and add ambience to your outdoor entertaining space. You can also burn sandalwood sticks, which have a beautiful scent.
Burning mosquito coils is another effective way to banish mozzies. Coming in different scents, you can place them around the yard to chase mozzies away or place them under the table to protect your ankles from being bitten.
7. Block them out
Patio blinds are a great solution to help create a space to relax without the irritation of insects. When installed, some even create privacy – you can look out, but people can’t see in. Putting in fly screens in windows or screening in the patio are other barriers that would keep out mosquitos out.
Mosquito nets over the bed look romantic, and add a touch of exotic elegance, but also serve as a practical way to keep mozzies away. Not just for use in the bedroom, some people use them outside over day beds to enjoy the great outdoors in comfort.
8. Protect yourself
If you are looking for something to apply directly on your skin, sprays and lotions containing DEET are very powerful at keeping mozzies at bay. Or you could create your own natural lotion mixing olive oil and essential oil of either peppermint, lavender or eucalyptus and dab that on your skin.
9. Call in the professionals
If you’re still not happy with the number of mosquitos in your garden, it may be time to call in the big guns. Professional pest controllers can spray a comprehensive mosquito treatment around your property and penetrate all of the nooks and crannies that superficial treatments don’t get into. This can be costly, but what is the price of comfort?